Patrisha McLean has been leaving her Camden home for many years to photograph children living on the Maine islands of Isleboro, Vinalhaven, and North Haven. Her images capture these kids in all their glory. The powerful stare from the girl on the book’s cover will draw you right into the book.
But even better, Patrisha presents the thoughts and stories of these amazing kids. Here’s an example: “Me and my friend Joe made a restaurant. We found all kinds of seaweed and rocks and stuff. Rocks were money. Seaweed goes inside the burger and the sand is the bun.”
Yup, island kids have great imaginations!
It’s no surprise that this book was a finalist for the 2016 Maine Literary Awards.
When you see the photographs, you will know that these kids trusted Patrisha in a profound way. Wait ‘til you see 3-year-old Anthony’s photo with his pet South American squirrel. And 9-year-old Levi, all dressed up for a ferry ride.
And 16-year-old Virginia, who fishes alone on her own boat. “I like to fish alone,” she says. “It works for me when there’s no one in the way. I like to see what I’m catching and measure everything that comes on board, because I don’t trust the stern man. I like that I’m my own boss. I can come in when I want, haul when I want. It’s like a game you get paid to play.”
12-year-old Mike’s fishing stories are great too, about mackerel, Pollock, and big eels. He started working when he was 10, filling up bait bags, spending his money on Lego sets.
And I guarantee that when you see 7-year-old Sammy’s goodbye wave at the end of the book, you’ll lift your own arm to wave at her, and immediately go right back to page one and start your way through this book a second time.